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My son is extremely intelligent. He recently took a test where the highest score the teacher had ever seen was a 271, and he scored a 268; however, he is not motivated and consistently fails to turn in work or pay attention in class. I finally took a 'sink or swim' approach. Consequently, he failed two core classes for the 2nd semester. I will not let him gets his driver's license until he starts taking school seriously, but he doesn't seem to care. I am at a loss as to what my next step should be. Should I punish him, or should I allow him to pay the natural consequences for his choices and let that be enough? I would really apppreciate your input.




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Question: Son failing high school

My son is extremely intelligent. He recently took a test where the highest score the teacher had ever seen was a 271, and he scored a 268; however, he is not motivated and consistently fails to turn in work or pay attention in class. I finally took a "sink or swim" approach. Consequently, he failed two core classes for the 2nd semester. I will not let him gets his driver's license until he starts taking school seriously, but he doesn't seem to care. I am at a loss as to what my next step should be. Should I punish him, or should I allow him to pay the natural consequences for his choices and let that be enough? I would really apppreciate your input.


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Advice from School Family and Our Experts

Lisa @ School Family writes:
Blondensmart & jadiblue- Making your sons suffer natural consequences is a good start. A lot of parents want to "rescue" their child and this works against everyone involved. This behavior often comes at a time when teens have little regard for parent's opinion. Because it of this, it's a good idea to get professional help. To be safe, you want to rule out ADHD, depression, learning disabilities and anxiety disorders. It could be that your kids are just going through a phase but it never hurts to have them talk to someone about why they are not trying at school.
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jadiblue writes:
My son is having the exact same experience. He is failing a a core class and seems so overwhelmed by the amount of work so he just doesn't do it. So summer school is the consequence he will have to pay. Unfortunately, he will have to miss either a family vacation or a week at summer camp that he is looking forward to. He has to choose and his summer job will go to offset the cost of $150.00 that summer school cost. I am not sure if that is punishment enough. I am having a hard time not being angry, but so far that hasn't helped! Good Luck.
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valm writes:
I am (both) amazed and dismayed at the numbers (parents) facing this dilemma! I am beginning to take this as a 'sign of our times' and also, thinking that efforts toward saving our children is of tantamount urgency! My son simply doesn't enjoy his school participation. I've had him tested - out of the 'yang-yang' and results are always the same: "very bright"; "no apparent issues." (I'm trying to remain focused, but) There appears to be a major disconnect, with school offering little 'reason' for his participation. I say, cut the mandatory school week to three days; allow private / non-profit organizations to supplement enrichment (advanced - science; literature; athletics; art/drama/music; etc.). Considering all factors - soft curriculums, great/poor teachers; questionable education practices; bullying; ignorance; mediocrity; I'm just about done. Along with my son !!
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valm writes:
I am (both) amazed and dismayed at the numbers (parents) facing this dilemma! I am beginning to take this as a 'sign of our times' and also, thinking that efforts toward saving our children is of tantamount urgency! My son simply doesn't enjoy his school participation. I've had him tested - out of the 'yang-yang' and results are always the same: "very bright"; "no apparent issues." (I'm trying to remain focused, but) There appears to be a major disconnect, with school offering little 'reason' for his participation. I say, cut the mandatory school week to three days; allow private / non-profit organizations to supplement enrichment (advanced - science; literature; athletics; art/drama/music; etc.). Considering all factors - soft curriculums, great/poor teachers; questionable education practices; bullying; ignorance; mediocrity; I'm just about done. Along with my son !
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